9 amazing Irish drives that you may not have heard about
Brought to you by Bluestone Motor Finance.
On the road again…
Are you on the lookout for amazing roads to drive in Ireland? Well, you’re in luck. Everyone knows about the Ring of Kerry and other major driving routes but we decided to compile a list of hidden gems, surprising treats and roads less travelled.
They may not be as well known as some of our more famous roads but they’re every bit as impressive. This selection includes everything from dramatic mountain passes to routes steeped in history. So there’s a little something for everyone.
All that’s left to do is fill up that tank and take to the road.
1. Achill, Mayo
The drive around Achill is kind of like a mini Wild Atlantic Way. It offers stunning views when the weather’s good and dramatic vistas if the weather’s bad. Once you're on the island, you can explore the sideroads that lead to places like Keem Bay and Dooega to enjoy some spectacular scenery.
2. The Priest’s Leap, Cork/Kerry
This 40 km drive takes you almost 500m above sea level as it traverses the mountains between Bonane in Co Kerry and Coomhola in Co Cork. Expect steep, narrow roads that wind their way through the incredibly scenic mountain landscape.
3. The Glengesh Pass, Donegal
The road between Gleanncholmcille and Ardara snakes through this ruggedly beautiful part of the country. The road was previously voted the most beautiful drive in Ireland. It’s a remote route and the hairpin bends on this steep mountain road will test your cornering skills, not to mention your brakes!
4. The Sperrin Mountains, Tyrone
There are a number of driving routes around this dramatic Ulster mountain range but the central route takes you in a loop from Strabane through the Sperrin Valley and past the highest peak of Sawel. Points of interest along the way include the Aghascrebagh Ogham Stone and Glenelly Valley.
5. Ennis to Doonbeg, Clare
Instead of opting for the quicker N68 route, take the road around the edge of the Shannon estuary and out towards Loop Head. Then follow the Clare coast up to Doonbeg. You won’t be disappointed.
6. The Boyne Valley Drive, Meath
You won’t get cliffs or sea views on this 225km route but what you do get is history. Lots of history. The route takes in Bru Na Boinne, Trim Castle, Slane Castle, Monasterboice, Mellifont Abbey and more. It’s a great drive if you want to get a blast of Ireland’s ancient past.
7. The Excalibur Drive, Wicklow
This 70km route covers various places used as locations for John Boorman’s Excalibur and it starts and ends in Roundwood Village, which is famous for being Ireland’s highest village. The impressive scenery along the way takes in Vartry Reservoir, Lough Tay and the Powerscourt Waterfall.
8. Cooley Peninsula drive, Louth
This route doesn’t get the attention it deserves as one of the island’s best drives. It goes from Dundalk along the coastal road to Carlingford before looping back down from Omeath. The route takes in coastline, mountains, forests and valleys as you retrace the steps of Fionn MacCumhaill in the setting for the legendary Táin Bó Cúailgne.
9. Doolin to Galway, Clare/Galway
This coastal route allows you to take in breathtaking views of the Atlantic and the Aran Islands on one side and the distinctive Burren landscape on the other side. That’s a pretty decent package by anyone’s standards. Plus, if you’re looking for interesting stops along the way, you can check out the likes of the Aillwee caves or explore the Burren on foot.
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